Unlike national governments who adopt budgets every year, EU finances cover a seven-year period and need to be agreed by all 27 member states. The bloc’s next budget, the first after Brexit, will be debated by EU leaders on Thursday (20 February). EURACTIV brings you an overview.
The talks will pit countries seeking more funding to sustain traditional policies against the “frugal four” who want to refocus EU spending and finance new priorities like migration, security, innovation or climate change.
A quick, consensual agreement on the 2021-27 financial framework, as for previous spending rounds, seems out of reach, despite mounting pressure to seal the deal quickly.
The idea is for the bloc to become leaner and do more with less in the wake of the UK’s departure, charting a new course that will better reflect changing global realities.
But priorities and ambitions vary considerably among member countries, and different proposals, with different financial ceilings, have been put forward by the Commission, Parliament, and Council President Charles Michel, who has been tasked with squaring this circle in the next few months.
Michel has proposed a budget of 1.074% of the EU’s gross national income, or €1.087 trillion. The Commission’s proposal sets the budget at €1.279 trillion (1.114% of EU-27 GNI). The European Parliament would like no less than 1.3% GNI.
Looking at the bigger picture, the difference of €192 billion is not huge, but the budget is largely a zero-sum game and allocating more funds to migration, digital, or green economy means less money for agriculture or regional policy, however you spin the numbers.
In this Policy Brief, our experts look at the key budget issues and their implications for the main policy sectors. Our video explainer of the MFF can be found here.
[Edited by Benjamin Fox]